Argentine trade unionist states “there will be no working subway until all of our comrades are released.”

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Source: Notas de Periodismo Popular / The Dawn News / May 24, 2018

The police of Buenos Aires, Argentina arrested the deputy secretary of the Association of Subway and Premetro Workers (AGTSyP), Néster Segovia, and other representatives of the subway, after having unleashed repression on them. In response to this situation, the general secretary of trade union, Roberto Pianelli, announced an indefinite strike until the detained co-workers are released.

With the presence of cameras and countless policemen of the Federal Capital of Buenos Aires sent under the order of the chief, Rodríguez Larreta, workers of H Line of the Argentine capital’s subway system were arrested. Néster Segovia told the press, while he was attacked by security forces: “Larreta detained me because I defend my co-workers.”

In response to this situation, Pianelli announced that “what Larreta has just achieved is that there will be no working subways until all the comrades are released” and he is responsible for the strike. “25 days ago when we opened turnstiles in order not to harm the people, we did everything possible, and we didn’t receive a single call from government or the Metrovías Company.”

On the contrary, “they sent 80 telegrams of suspension to our co-workers and then we began taking rotating measures, but those didn’t harm the users”. Finally he clarified: “there are people who don’t understand the Constitution. We are going to exercise the constitutional right to strike.”

In the morning, the workers had been repressed by the city police, who escorted managerial personnel from the Metrovías Company so that they would take charge of the E and H lines.

“We are surrounded by the police”, were the words of Claudio Dellacarbonara, representative of B line, who was present at the protest. In an attempt to summarize the events, he added that there had been police had been pushing them and shot at them with rubber bullets. “What they are trying to do is not normal, they are trying to stop us from using our constitutional right to protest and strike”, said the trade-union leader.

The subway workers’ strike began at 12am with the stoppage of cleaning tasks, repairs and maintenance, interruption of service from 5:30am to 12pm, while until 2pm the objective was to maintain the opening of turnstiles.

The plan of action is in rejection of the joint salary agreement of 15.02% between the government, the Metrovía Company and the Union of Automotive Trams (UTA), and the suspension of more than 100 workers who, since April 23, have been participating in protests.

“We are in conflict because of our collective bargaining that was ended by a union that does not represent the subway workers”, declared Eduardo a representative of Line H, on FM La Patriada.

He also added: “the police began to forcefully throw out our co-workers who were at their work stations exercising their right to strike.”

The Buenos Aires government opted for the attempt to sabotage the strike by ordering that the subway installations be run by managerial personnel, who were escorted by the city police to get the workers out of their jobs and replace them to resume the functioning of the line.

The Company clarified that “the suspension notifications already amount to 114” and are originated in what qualifies as “illegal actions such as the occupation of installations, opening of emergency doors and/or the release of turnstiles”. In the text he warned that “in the event of reiterating these labor misconducts, it will itself give rise to more severe penalties”.

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